long awaited reality series “Girls Who Like Boys Who
Like Boys,” highlighting the unconventional relationship
between heterosexual women and gay men deputed on the
“Sundance Channel” on December 7th. The show is produced
by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, the gay producers
of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
And the show is going
to be a great reality series.
Who Like Boys Who Like Boys,” reveals how honest and
raw interpersonal dynamics in friendships that emerge
among unconventional and fiercely loving and supportive
relationships between heterosexual women and straight
men contradict the dominant views of gender and sexual
And the show not only
gives a human face to this reality of straight women with
gay men as their “best friends forever” (BFFs), but the
show also highlights our universal yearning for a person
with whom we have a feeling of deep and natural affinity,
love, intimacy, spirituality, and compatibility, irrespective
race, gender and sexual preferences.
Straight women with
gay men as BFFs are not an anomaly. And the entertainment
industry has successfully captured that reality.
For example, television
sitcom “Will & Grace” that aired from 1998- 2006 was
about a gay male lawyer, Will Truman, and his BFF, Grace
Adler, a Jewish woman who ran her own interior design
firm. And, also, in 1998 the romantic comedy “The Object
of My Affection” staring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd
was a story about a pregnant New
York social worker and her gay male BFF.
But back in the day
“women who like men who like men” were called “fag hags,”
a slang that originated in U.S. gay male culture that some heterosexual women
still find insulting.
Straight women who
have rejected the label “fag hag” argue that lying at
the etymological root of this moniker are misogynistic
stereotypes. And they feel that the term is not only derogatory
about them, but that the term also demeans and distorts
their rich relationships with their “BFFs”.
But there are many
other women who have also lovingly embraced the term.
Comedian Margaret Cho regularly talks about being a fag
hag in many of her stand-up routines and she has written
the now famous and oft-quoted piece “On Being a Fag Hag.”
“I am fortunate enough
to have been a fag hag for most of my life. A fag hag
is a woman who prefers the company of gay men. The marriage
of two derogatory terms, fag and hag, symbolizing the
union of the world’s most popular objects of scorn, homosexuals
and woman, creates a moniker that most of those who wear
it find inoffensive, possibly because it smacks of solidarity.
Some women have come to me urgently expressing their desire
for a new name.”
While it is clear
that the unconventional coupling of gay men and straight
women disrupts heterosexist patriarchy, it also debunks
the stereotypical assumptions foisted upon this distinct
Gay men whose BFFs
are straight women are perceived to be effeminate, or
“wanna be females” or looking for a gay-friendly mom,
while others are perceived to embody internalized homophobia
or relationship phobia.
The commonly held
assumption about straight women whose BFFs are gay men
is that they are the world’s female rejects, who are annoying,
clingy, and incapable of intimacy. In
other words, they are the consummate “dumpees” of failed
heterosexual relationships. They are perceived to register
so low, if at all, on the sexual attractiveness, social
self-worth, and body esteem scales that they seek safe
refuge in the “gay world.”
But the stereotypes
are far from the truth. As a matter of fact, in a 2009
study conducted to test the hypothesis if there is any
truth to the negative stereotypes surrounding “women who
like men who like men,” research psychologist Jesse Bering
wrote in “Scientific American Mind” that straight women
with a lot of gay male friends actually fare better in
life. The study found “the more gay male friends that
a woman had, the more sexually attractive she found herself,”
meaning these women either surround themselves with hot
guys who happen to be gay, and/or gay men laud their BFFs
with so many compliments it helps these women to perceive
themselves as being attractive.
“We are from all walks
of life, all classes, all ages, all races; straight, lesbian
and somewhere in between. We are as diverse as we are
numerous. The common bond that we share is our alliance
with gay men, a connection that is both nurturing and
powerful, sweet and sour, retail and wholesale,” Cho wrote.
“Girls Who Like
Boys Who Like Boys” is a must see!
But what might the
general viewer not understand about these women?
The friendships that
“women who like men who like men” have are a special bond
like no other. Gay men have an innate capacity to connect
on deeply emotional and spiritual levels with women that
is too often not experienced with heterosexual men. And
with these friendships devoid of any sexual tension and
competition for the same male suitors, it’s easy for both
gay men and straight women to open up to each other.
And let’s also be
honest, “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys” will
give viewers an opportunity to see why so many women -
across sexual preferences - say, we “enjoy having our
gay men friends because it’s like having a girl friend
in a boy friend.”
Editorial Board member, the Rev. Irene Monroe, is a religion
columnist, theologian, and public speaker. She
is the Coordinator of the African-American Roundtable
of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion
and Ministry (CLGS) at the Pacific School of Religion.
A native of Brooklyn, Rev. Monroe is a graduate from
Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia
University, and served as a pastor at an African-American
church before coming to Harvard Divinity School for her
doctorate as a Ford Fellow. She was recently named to
MSNBC’s list of 10 Black Women You Should Know. Reverend Monroe is the author
of Let Your Light Shine Like a Rainbow Always: Meditations on Bible
Prayers for Not’So’Everyday Moments. As an African-American
feminist theologian, she speaks for a sector of society
that is frequently invisible. Her website is irenemonroe.com.
to contact the Rev. Monroe.